Mayor Randolf Young of Willowford Heights announced a 47% reduction to theft, specifically, instances of pickpocketing throughout the first quarter of 2017.
Mayor Young made the above announcement at a town hall open-house Q & A session early Wednesday morning. According to Young, this year, instances of reported pickpocket victims have decreased by 47% from 2016.
Young credits the decline in pickpocketing to a slightly heightened police presence downtown, but primarily a heightened awareness by Willowford Heights residents.
In response to frequent complaints from citizens about falling victim to pickpocket scams while shopping or working downtown, Mayor Young’s office launched an awareness campaign at the beginning of 2017. The purpose of the awareness campaign was to show residents how to be more secure and mindful of their belongings while downtown.
The campaign included advice from local Willowford Heights Chief of Police, Bob Walker, regarding placement of your wallet, being aware of your surroundings, and also walking in large groups or crowds when available.
According to Walker, pickpocketing is a classic crime of opportunity, meaning if residents are more aware of their surroundings and begin placing their wallets in their back pockets and snuggly holding their purses, would-be thieves become discouraged and eventually move-on to another area.
While Willowford Heights residents are thrilled with the progress Mayor Young has made in reducing property theft, many citizens attending the town hall meeting pressed the official about his plans to reduce panhandling downtown.
Mayor Young assured those in attendance that with the issue of theft being under control, his office would make drastic steps toward curbing unwanted panhandling throughout the remainder of 2017.